Wikileaks Supporters Attack Mastercard, Kind Of


Yesterday, I wrote about how the Wikileaks controversy is affecting Mastercard. Mastercard had stopped forwarding payments to Wikileaks, which by itself is a controversial move.     One of the top stories today is about the hackers who are supposedly bringing down Mastercard’s operations.   Many of the reports I have read have accurately described the target of the attack as Mastercard’s webiste, Mastercard.com.    Indeed, I have been unable to reach that site all day.

So What?

Realistically, nobody really needs to visit Mastercard’s website, which is only filled with delightful corporate information about themselves and some questionable advice on debt. This is a far cry from what some web sites are claiming, an actual disruption of credit card processing.   Take a look at this alarming, and false, headline at The Raw Story:

Don’t be fooled into thinking your Mastercard will actually stop working.   By “Mastercards” they mean the Mastercard.com web site, not your actual card itself.   The article itself states that “The company said its customers could still use their credit cards for purchases”.    That one statement makes the point of the entire article moot.    What do you need a Mastercard for, if not to make purchase?

What About SecureCode

The article does say that the SecureCode service is experiencing an outage.   For this article, I had to look up what SecureCode is.    As someone who writes about credit cards every day, the fact that I wasn’t aware of it’s existence should tell you something about how important this service actually is.   Even though Mastercard’s site was down, I was still able to learn through Google’s cache that SecureCode is a system where you get to enter a unique code every time you make an online transaction.   Sounds like a cumbersome inconvenience with no real benefit to cardholders.   No wonder I never heard of it.

Will Visa Or Paypal Be Next?

As I write this, both Visa.com and PayPal.com are both up and running normally.    Visa’s website is like Mastercard’s, just a bunch of corporate information.    Nobody is going to suffer if we can’t read about Visa for a few hours.    PayPal, on the other hand, depends on it’s web site for nearly 100% of it’s transactions.   If PayPal goes down, E-Bay and other services that depend on PayPal transactions will be in a world of hurt.   That said, I would expect PayPal, as a quasi-banking site, to have a far more robust infrastructure than Mastercard’s little used, information only web presence, or Visa’s for that matter.

More On Wikileaks And The Corporate Morality Of Credit Card Processors

Yesterday, I noted that such infamous organizations as the KKK take Mastercard, yet Wikileaks has now been kicked off the payment processor’s network.   Today, Techdirt noticed another company that are still happily doing business with their bank, DynCorp.   Apparently the Wikileaks cables show that this particular company has been complicit in child prostitution in Afganistan. My point is that if we are going to ask Mastercard or any other bank to stop doing business with companies or organizations that do bad things, Wikileaks should hardly have been at the top of the list.

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